[MARMAM] New publication: Effects of a morbillivirus epizootic on long-finned pilot whales

Kaja Wierucka kaja.wierucka at gmail.com
Wed Apr 16 01:25:36 PDT 2014

Dear all,

We are pleased to announce the online publication of the following article:

Wierucka K, Verborgh P, Meade R, Colmant L, Gauffier P, Esteban R, de
Stephanis R, Cañadas A  (2014). Effects of a morbillivirus epizootic on
long-finned pilot whales *Globicephala melas* in Spanish Mediterranean
waters. Marine Ecology Progress Series 502: 1-10.


Long-finned pilot whales *Globicephala melas* are a commonly encountered
species in the Mediterranean Sea. In 2006−2007, an outbreak of the dolphin
morbillivirus in the Western Mediterranean resulted in increased mortality
of this species. The aim of this study was to determine whether survival
rates differed between clusters of Spanish Mediterranean pilot whales, and
how the epizootic influenced these survival rates. Photo-identification
surveys were conducted between 1992 and 2009. Association indices were used
to define clusters of individuals that associate with each other more
frequently than with others. Based on a Cormack-Jolly- Seber survival rate
model, apparent survival rate estimates varied from 0.821 to 0.995 over 11
clusters for the 1992−2009 period. When the effect of the morbillivirus
outbreak was modeled, 3 clusters with distinctly lower survival rates from
previous models presented lower estimates after the outbreak (survival rate
dropped from 0.919 [95% CI: 0.854−0.956] to 0.547 [95% CI: 0.185−0.866]),
suggesting a negative influence of the epizootic or other unknown additive
factors on certain clusters. This information is critical for the
conservation of long-finned pilot whales, since they are listed as ‘data
deficient’ in the Mediterranean Sea by the IUCN and as ‘vulnerable’ in the
Spanish National Catalogue of Endangered Species.

A pdf copy of the work can be downloaded from:

Kind regards,

Kaja Wierucka
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